Ultimate Buying Guide for Cooling Mattresses

Forget counting sheep, tossing and turning, or wrestling with sweaty sheets. In the age of personalised sleep tech, struggling with nighttime heat is a thing of the past. Enter the cooling mattress, a revolutionary innovation designed to keep you comfortably chilled and drifting off into dreamland like a polar bear on an ice floe. Our bodies naturally dip in temperature during sleep, and overheating disrupts this delicate cycle. Increased body temperature triggers stress hormones, elevates heart rate, and makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. This is where cooling mattresses come in, acting as your night-time air conditioner, strategically regulating temperature for optimal sleep. If all this feels very alien, don’t worry &  use this cooling mattress buying guide to sleep like a baby.

These mattresses conquer the heat and employ a variety of innovative technologies, each with its unique benefits, such as:

  • Phase Change Materials (PCMs): These clever materials absorb and release heat throughout the night. As your body temperature rises, the PCMs absorb the excess heat, keeping you cool. When you cool down, they release the stored heat, preventing chills. Think of them as tiny thermal batteries for your comfort.
  • Conductive Fabrics and Covers: Certain mattresses utilise special fabrics and covers that wick away moisture and promote airflow, preventing that clammy feeling. Imagine a cool, crisp breeze gently caressing your skin all night.
  • Encapsulated Innersprings: Traditional innersprings can trap heat. Some cooling mattresses address this by encasing the springs in breathable, heat-conductive materials, allowing for better air circulation and heat dissipation.
  • Active Cooling Systems: For the ultimate in temperature control, some high-tech mattresses boast built-in water or air cooling systems. These systems circulate chilled water or air through channels within the mattress, offering precise temperature regulation at the touch of a button.

The benefits of a cooling mattress extend far beyond simply staying cool. Deeper, more restful sleep becomes your nightly norm, leaving you energised and refreshed in the morning. Hot sleepers finally find relief from the heat-induced aches and stiffness that plague traditional mattresses, thanks to improved pressure relief and positions facilitated by the cooler temperatures. For allergy sufferers, some specialised materials further enhance the sleep experience by repelling dust mites and allergens, creating a cleaner and healthier haven. Even chronic night sweats caused by hot flashes, hormonal changes, or medical conditions are minimised, as these innovative mattresses help regulate temperature and prevent those frustrating disruptions. With so much more to offer than just a chilled slumber, choosing a cooling mattress type becomes an investment in your overall well-being.

Mattress Buying Tips to Pick the Right One

Choosing the perfect cooling mattress requires cruising a diverse landscape, so here is the ultimate cooling mattress buying guide. First, cooling technology – opt for passive PCMs for gentle coolness or embrace precise control with active systems, but remember, a higher price tag comes with the territory. Don’t sacrifice comfort for chill, though. Match the firmness and comfort to your sleep style and preferences. Remember, cooling mattresses come in all sizes and budget ranges, so set a limit and measure your bed frame for the ideal fit. Finally, secure your sleep sanctuary with generous trial periods and warranties to ensure satisfaction before you drift off to your coolest nights yet. With these points in mind, finding your perfect cooling mattress becomes a smooth journey towards a refreshed and rejuvenated you.

A cooling mattress is an investment in your sleep health and overall well-being. By creating a comfortable, temperature-controlled sleep environment, you can unlock a world of deeper sleep, improved energy levels, and reduced stress.

The Smartwatch: A Fitness Companion or a Controlling Taskmaster?

With the world getting saturated with health trends and fitness culture, the role of technology in our wellness journey has become increasingly prominent. The advent of smartwatches has revolutionised the way we approach fitness, offering a convenient tool to monitor and motivate. However, as we delve into the realm of smartwatch-assisted fitness, the question arises: Is it a smart move towards a healthier lifestyle, or does it risk becoming a nagging nuisance?

For some 3 decades of my life, my metabolism was a source of envy for many. I could eat countless cupcakes or a dozen deep-fried spring rolls, with zero visible consequence. Growing up, it was (wrongfully) understood that fat was unhealthy and thin was aspirational. And I was thin. It did not occur to me that I may not be fit, till well into my adult life. As gym culture evolved and global conversations on fitness penetrated social media feeds, I was compelled to make the paradigm shift to an active life. I started small-gentle yoga a couple of times a week and lazy swims in the summer. As I got more and more invested, it only made sense to monitor these activities. Enter the Smartwatch. I started with the Amazfit but quickly realised its inaccuracies; hearing me whine about it day in and out, my boyfriend decided to part with his Apple watch and that’s how I ended up with a miniature personal coach on my wrist.

It was an adventure. Selecting different workouts, watching the calories burn away, and even watching the heart rate go up and down. More than anything else, this device proved invaluable in keeping me accountable. After setting three types of daily goals – Move (calories to be burned), Exercise (number of minutes spent in working out) and Stand (shows the hours in which you’ve stood and moved for at least a minute, I set off on a mission every morning.

The watch meticulously tracks your movements, ensuring that every step, every heartbeat, and every calorie burned is recorded. This makes you look at your daily efforts in a more tangible way – like how many burpees to undo a stack of pancakes. As you get immersed more and more into a workout routine, you also see the progress in numbers. Whether it’s a gentle push to up your step count or the promise of an award if you complete a certain number of workouts within a week, it keeps you on track encouraging you to be consistent with your routine. Pretty nifty. Most of the time.

The slight downside to relying heavily on a smartwatch for fitness is the risk of becoming a slave to its demands. The pursuit of closing all three rings (this happens when all daily goals are met) can sometimes override the crucial aspect of listening to one’s body. But it can be tough when your watch is so much louder. I have found myself feeling unwell or exhausted after many long days ready to embrace my bed when my watch goes ‘You are one 12-minute run away from closing your Move ring’. Off I go ticking off tasks from a digital checklist, pushing my body beyond its threshold. This goes against the very essence of mindful fitness, ignoring your body’s messages – just because they don’t flash in text form on your wrist.

So, have I stopped wearing my watch? No. But I have stopped regarding it as my manager. Much like the conversations around AI, one has to accept that this piece of tech works well as a tool but not something to obey blindly. In a nutshell, balance is key. Get that watch but watch out!

 

– Navni Kumar

Mastering Exercise with Energy System Knowledge

When it comes to creating an effective training program, knowledge of energy systems is a valuable tool that can make a significant difference in your fitness journey. Energy systems are like the secret ingredients that can help you optimise your workouts, improve performance, and achieve your fitness goals more efficiently.

My name is Abhishek Munian and I’m a certified fitness coach, or as I like to call it “an online fitness coach for busy professionals”. Today, I’ll help you understand how energy systems can empower you to make better decisions with your training programs but before we dive into how energy systems can benefit your training, it’s essential to know the basics.

If the concept of energy systems were to be explained to a five-year-old, we can do so by dividing it into three parts:

Super Quick Energy: When you need to run fast or jump high, your body uses a special energy system that gives you a quick burst of energy. It’s like a sprint! Imagine your body is like a superhero, and it needs certain kinds of power to do different things. These different kinds of power are called “energy systems.”

Steady Energy: Sometimes, you need to keep going for a long time, like when you’re playing all day at the playground. Your body uses another energy system that gives you steady energy, just like a superhero with a power that lasts a long time.

Super Strong Energy: When you need to lift heavy things, like a superhero lifting a big rock, your body uses a different energy system. It’s like a strength power-up!

In simple words, energy systems are the different ways your body produces and uses energy during physical activity. There are three primary energy systems:

1. Phosphagen System: This system provides quick bursts of energy for activities like sprinting, lifting heavy weights, or jumping. It’s like the turbo boost in a video game that gives you a short but powerful surge of energy.

2. Glycolytic System: This system kicks in when you engage in high-intensity, short-duration activities such as HIIT workouts or lifting moderate weights. It’s responsible for supplying energy for a bit longer than the phosphagen system, but it’s still relatively short-lived.

3. Oxidative System: This is your endurance powerhouse. It fuels activities like long-distance running, cycling, or any sustained effort. It’s like the slow and steady energy that keeps you going for a long time.

So How Does Understanding Energy Systems Help One Tailor Their Workouts?

Understanding the different energy systems can help you tailor your workouts to match your specific goals. If you want to become a better sprinter, for example, you should focus on training the phosphagen system with short, high-intensity intervals. On the other hand, if you aim to improve your endurance for long runs, your training should emphasise the oxidative system.

Tailoring your workouts to match your goals and the relevant energy system not only saves you time but also maximises your results.

Knowing and integrating energy systems can guide you in structuring your workouts, not only in terms of the type of exercise but also in terms of duration and intensity. For instance, if your goal is to improve your glycolytic system for high-intensity sports, you might design a workout program that includes short, intense bursts of activity, followed by brief rest periods. This approach targets the glycolytic system and helps you build strength and endurance for activities like tennis, soccer, or basketball.

Alternatively, if you’re an endurance athlete looking to enhance your oxidative system for long-distance running or cycling, your training program should focus on sustained efforts over a more extended period. Long, steady-state runs or bike rides at a moderate pace can help you develop the endurance needed for these activities.

Overall, it lets you mix and match different types of workouts to keep things interesting and challenging. Variety is not only enjoyable but also essential to prevent boredom and maintain motivation in your fitness journey.

Preventing Overtraining and Injury

Overtraining is a common pitfall in the fitness world. Pushing your body too hard for an extended period can lead to injuries and burnout. Learning about energy systems can help you avoid this by allowing you to plan appropriate rest periods and recovery strategies.

Each energy system has its recovery time. The phosphagen system recovers relatively quickly, so if you’re focusing on sprinting, you might be able to train more frequently. On the other hand, the oxidative system takes longer to recover, so you’ll need more rest between long-distance runs.

When you schedule your workouts smartly and incorporate rest periods that align with the energy systems you’re targeting, you can reduce the risk of overtraining and keep your body healthy.

Tracking Progress and Setting Goals

Another benefit of understanding energy systems is that they enable you to set clear, measurable goals and track your progress more effectively. When you know which energy system you’re training, you can monitor your performance and see tangible improvements over time.

For instance, if you’re working on your glycolytic system through high-intensity interval training (HIIT), you can measure your progress by monitoring how long you can sustain those high-intensity intervals or how quickly you recover between them. This makes it easier to set specific goals, like increasing your sprint speed or lasting longer during intense workouts.

Avoiding Plateaus

Plateaus in fitness occur when your progress comes to a halt. You can avoid these frustrating plateaus by allowing you to change up your workouts strategically.

Switching your training focus to a different energy system can shock your body and stimulate new growth. For example, if you’ve hit a plateau in your long-distance running, incorporating some high-intensity interval training to target the glycolytic system can help you break through and see continuous improvements in your endurance.

Efficient Time Management

Time is a precious commodity. By customising your workouts to the specific energy systems you’re targeting, you can achieve your fitness goals without spending excessive time in the gym. This means you’ll have more time for other aspects of your life while still making significant progress in your fitness journey.

The knowledge of energy systems in your training programs can be a game-changer for your fitness goals. It allows you to work smarter, prevent overtraining, set clear goals, avoid plateaus, and manage your time more efficiently. By understanding how your body produces and uses energy, you can create personalised and effective training programs that help you become the best version of yourself.

Essential Guide to Women’s Hormonal Health

Hormones, the chemical messengers, act as the silent conductors, directing the performance with exquisite precision. These tiny molecules travel through the bloodstream, seeking out specific receptors on target cells like keys seeking their locks. Once the perfect fit is found, the hormone delivers its message, triggering cellular responses that govern everything from growth and development to metabolism and reproduction. Understanding Women’s Hormonal Health is of prime importance, as it plays an important role in everything from fitness to reproductive health to sleep.

Hormones, vital for numerous bodily functions, exert influence across various domains. They guide growth and development, with growth hormone and insulin steering bone and muscle growth, regulating puberty, and shaping overall body composition. Additionally, insulin and glucagon manage blood sugar levels, while thyroxine oversees energy expenditure and body temperature as part of metabolism. In reproduction, sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone govern menstrual cycles, fertility, and pregnancy in women, while also impacting sexual development and function in all genders. Further, hormones like serotonin and melatonin assume pivotal roles in regulating mood, sleep cycles, and the body’s response to stress.

For women, hormonal balance is especially critical. Estrogen and progesterone, the main hormones of the menstrual cycle, team up for maturation, ovulation, and uterine preparation for pregnancy. When these hormones swing out of sync, the consequences can range from menstrual irregularities. They influence bone health, energy levels, and even our response to stress and sleep.

Hormonal Changes Throughout Life Phases

Women or anyone with a uterus undergo a fascinating journey because of hormones throughout their life. This starts in puberty, followed by the fertile years, and eventually transitions into menopause. These are some key hormonal milestones in this journey:

Puberty: Approaching the ages of 8-13 the conductor, the hypothalamus, sends out signals to the pituitary gland, prompting the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). This then taps the ovaries into action, coaxing them to produce estrogen and progesterone – the primary performers in female sexual development. Estrogen, then takes centre stage, stimulating breast development, and pubic hair growth, and thickening the uterine lining like a plush carpet for a potential guest. Progesterone, a reliable understudy, joins the act, working alongside estrogen to prepare the uterus for a possible pregnancy. Finally, estrogen levels reach their peak, leading to the first menstrual period, marking the official start of the cyclical journey.

Menstrual Cycle: Each month, the ovaries alternate between producing a dominant follicle (containing an egg) and a corpus luteum (which releases progesterone). This intricate choreography is orchestrated by a delicate trio of hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and GnRH. Estrogen levels rise in the first half of the cycle, peaking around ovulation. This can lead to increased energy, libido, and alertness. Progesterone takes over after ovulation, causing mood swings, fatigue, and breast tenderness. But within this ebb and flow of hormones lies a crucial purpose. If the egg fails to meet its destined partner, the corpus luteum fades, and progesterone levels plummet. This signals the shedding of the uterine lining, and menstruation takes place.

Pregnancy and Childbirth: During pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone skyrocket, fueling your baby’s growth and getting your body ready for birth. Another hormone, Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), produced by the placenta, further supports these processes. This surge can be pretty intense and can lead to a rollercoaster of emotions, from euphoria to anxiety. Physical symptoms like fatigue, nausea, and mood swings are also common. After birth, hormone levels take a nosedive, and some women may experience a low, also known as postpartum depression.

Perimenopause and Menopause: As women approach their 40s, the ovaries gradually reduce estrogen production. This decline causes the menstrual cycle to become irregular and eventually cease altogether, marking menopause. In the years leading up to menopause (perimenopause), estrogen levels fluctuate erratically, causing hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. While menopause signifies the end of fertility, it doesn’t have to be the end of well-being. Hormone replacement therapy and lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms and maintain a healthy quality of life.

Common Hormonal Health Issues Imbalances in hormones, whether excessive or insufficient, often lead to health symptoms and issues. While several of these imbalances necessitate treatment, a few may be transient and self-resolving. Among the prevalent hormone-related conditions are:

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Characterised by irregular periods, excess androgen levels, and polycystic ovaries, PCOS is marked by hormonal imbalances that affect ovulation. Potential complications include infertility, diabetes, and heart disease.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle trigger PMS and PMDD symptoms. PMS may cause mood swings, bloating, and irritability, while PMDD presents severe emotional and physical symptoms. Management involves lifestyle changes, medications, and therapy.

Endometriosis: Hormonal fluctuations influence the abnormal growth of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterus, causing pain and fertility issues. These hormonal changes aggravate the condition, often leading to severe pelvic pain and infertility.

The Way Forward: Exercise, Stress Management & More

Regular exercise, encompassing various forms like aerobic workouts, strength training, and yoga, is pivotal for hormonal health and stress management. It triggers the release of endorphins, reducing stress and enhancing mood while decreasing cortisol levels.

Exercise also improves insulin sensitivity, regulating blood sugar and preventing imbalances linked to insulin resistance. Physical activity contributes to better sleep quality, essential for hormonal balance. By regulating sleep patterns, exercise indirectly supports equilibrium in hormones, preventing disruptions that affect stress, appetite, and metabolism.

Several tests are available to help better understand female hormonal health, providing valuable insights into hormone levels and potential imbalances. Blood tests serve as a critical tool for assessing various hormones pivotal to women’s health. They encompass evaluations for hormones like progesterone and estrogen, crucial for regulating the menstrual cycle and reproductive health. Thyroid function tests, encompassing TSH, T3, and T4 assessments, gauge metabolic influence and energy levels. Hormones such as FSH and LH contribute to ovarian function, aiding in diagnosing fertility and menopause-related conditions. Prolactin evaluations highlight potential impacts on fertility and menstrual cycles.

Even testosterone, typically associated with males, holds significance for women’s mood, libido, and energy. Furthermore, cortisol level measurements shed light on stress’s potential influence on hormonal balance. These blood tests offer comprehensive insights into an array of hormonal markers crucial for understanding and managing women’s health.

Understanding the interplay between these hormones enables customised interventions, whether for reproductive health, metabolic regulation, or addressing stress-related impacts, ensuring a holistic approach to women’s well-being. Everyone’s journey is different, and hormonal experiences can vary widely. Don’t hesitate to seek medical advice if you have any concerns or questions understanding women’s hormonal health.

Massage Guns vs Massages: A Comprehensive Guide

Massage therapy, an age-old practice known for its healing and relaxation properties, has stood the test of time as a method for easing muscle tension, reducing stress, and enhancing overall well-being. While technology and innovation in the wellness industry have progressed immensely, massages haven’t changed much, requiring you to engage with people and not being sure of the quality you’re getting. Until a few years ago, when a new contender emerged – massage guns. This tool introduced an alternative to the conventional human touch, promising similar if not augmented advantages for muscle relief, recovery, and relaxation. The intersection between tradition and innovation has sparked a dialogue within the massage therapy landscape, offering individuals choices that cater to their preferences, needs, and lifestyles. If you’re confused about massage guns vs massages, steal this guide to answer all your questions.

Understanding Traditional Massage vs Massage Guns

Traditional massages have their roots in ancient cultures worldwide, each with unique techniques and approaches. From Swedish to Shiatsu, these massages use manual manipulation and touch to relieve tension and enhance relaxation. Traditional massages encompass various styles designed to cater to different needs, including deep tissue, aromatherapy, Thai, and hot stone massages. Each technique focuses on different pressure points and muscle groups and are known for reducing stress, improving circulation, alleviating muscle tension, and promoting overall relaxation and well-being.

Massage guns on the other hand represent a modern evolution in massage therapy, employing percussive therapy to deliver rapid, targeted pulses of pressure to the muscles. These handheld devices utilise vibrations and percussions to stimulate muscles, promoting blood flow, relieving muscle tension, and aiding in post-workout recovery. They offer convenience, targeted relief, and portability, enabling individuals to self-administer therapy at their convenience.

Comparative Analysis Application and Reach

Traditional massages offer comprehensive, whole-body treatment, while massage guns provide targeted relief to specific muscle groups or areas of discomfort.

  • User Experience: Traditional massages involve human touch, personalised attention, and the therapeutic ambience of a spa, while massage guns offer efficient and mechanical relief.
  • Frequency and Cost: Traditional massages may require regular visits to a therapist, while massage guns offer cost-effective, one-time home-use purchases.
  • Evidential Support: Both methods boast empirical evidence supporting their effectiveness in stress reduction, muscle recovery, and pain relief.
  • Suitability: Massage guns may be preferred by athletes for rapid post-exercise recovery, while traditional massages may be sought for holistic relaxation and stress reduction.

Safety Considerations

While these methods may be different from each other in some or the other way, users should exercise caution with both methods, ensuring proper techniques and avoiding overuse, as incorrect application or excessive pressure can lead to discomfort or tissue damage. Individuals with specific health conditions should seek advice from healthcare professionals before employing either method.

Choosing between massage guns vs massages ultimately depends on individual preferences, lifestyle, health needs, and budget constraints. Integrating both methods into a wellness routine might offer comprehensive muscular health and recovery benefits. Both massage guns and traditional massages offer unique benefits and serve different wellness needs. The choice between these methods hinges on personal preferences, health goals, and the desired therapeutic experience.

Collagen: Skin Health & Beyond

Collagen supplements have been in the news for a while, particularly adored by skincare enthusiasts. Scrolling through your social media feed, you’ve undoubtedly come across numerous ads for collagen supplements, promising to enhance and preserve your youthful appearance for years to come. And all with good reason. Collagen, the most abundant protein in your body is often referred to as the fountain of youth, as it serves as the natural architect for maintaining the firmness and elasticity of your skin. It constitutes a substantial 75% of the skin’s support structure, acting like a scaffolding that upholds the tautness of your skin. But collagen’s importance extends far beyond skincare & there are a lot ways to incorporate natural collagen sources in diet.

It makes up about 30% of your body’s total protein, serving as the foundational material for various parts such as your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, connective tissues, vital organs, blood vessels, and the lining of your intestines. There are three primary types of collagen, each with distinct functions that are essential for our overall health. Type I collagen is the most abundant form, and it plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin and ensuring firmness and a youthful appearance. Type II collagen is essential for safeguarding joint health and ensuring smooth and painless function. Finally, Type III collagen, though less recognised, plays an important role in fortifying the structural integrity of our organs and skin.

In a conversation with Dr Tulika Anand, Dermatologist, Faculty (Manipal-Tata Medical College), we understand and learn more about the complexities of collagen, beyond the realm of skin health.

Role of Collagen in the body

Collagen plays an important role in holistic well-being with its benefits extending to several areas of health such as:

  1. Hair and Nail Health: Collagen, a fundamental component of hair and nails, promotes their health and vitality. It aids in strengthening brittle nails and contributes to thicker, more robust hair growth.
  2. Joint Mobility: Collagen is a crucial element of cartilage, tendons, and ligaments that surround joints. As such, it plays a pivotal role in maintaining joint mobility and reducing discomfort.
  3. Gut Health: The stomach lining, responsible for controlling the passage of substances into the gut, also relies on collagen. Adequate collagen levels help maintain a strong gut lining, reducing the risk of conditions like leaky gut syndrome and associated digestive problems such as bloating and diarrhoea.
  4. Muscle Recovery and Inflammation Reduction: Collagen aids in the repair and regeneration of muscle tissues. This is especially important for individuals engaged in physical activities, as it speeds up recovery and reduces the likelihood of muscle soreness. Collagen’s anti-inflammatory properties also contribute to overall physical well-being.

Reading the Signs: Collagen Deficiency

Sometimes, as we age or experience certain health conditions, the amount and quality of collagen our bodies produce can decrease. Apart from wrinkles and sagging skin, a collagen deficiency can lead to weak bones, joint pain, osteoporosis and an impaired gut lining, causing digestive issues. Collagen is also present in blood vessels, and its deficiency can disrupt their function, causing abnormal blood pressure levels.

Monitoring your body for these signs can offer insights into your collagen levels and may suggest the need for collagen supplementation to maintain overall health. To promote collagen production and its associated benefits, you have two primary strategies: dietary choices and collagen supplementation. On the dietary front, you can boost collagen with these natural collagen sources in diet:

  1. Bone Broth: This is one of the best natural sources of collagen. It’s made by simmering animal bones, such as chicken or mutton for an extended period. The collagen in the bones is released into the broth, making it a nutritious powerhouse.
  2. Chicken Skin: The skin of poultry is a good source of collagen & when you roast or cook chicken with the skin on, you get a collagen boost in your diet.
  3. Fish: Many fish, particularly fatty ones with bones, are rich in collagen. Salmon, mackerel, and tilapia, among others, can provide collagen-building nutrients.
  4. Eggs: Egg whites contain proline, which is an amino acid necessary for collagen production.
  5. Vitamin C: Eating foods rich in vitamin C can help boost collagen production. Red and yellow vegetables, such as red peppers, sweet potatoes, and carrots, are great sources of antioxidants too which support collagen synthesis. Berries and citrus fruits are also excellent sources of vitamin C.
  6. Nuts: Almonds and peanuts are rich in the amino acid lysine needed for collagen formation.
  7. Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens contain chlorophyll, which can help increase procollagen levels.

Collagen Supplements: While dietary sources offer a means to boost collagen intake, you can also explore collagen supplements available in various forms for your convenience. Collagen peptides and marine collagen are two types of collagen supplements that can be added to foods and beverages. Collagen peptides are hydrolysed collagen proteins that are easily digestible and often flavourless and marine collagen is sourced from fish. Both of these are available in the form of:

  1. Collagen Capsules or Tablets: These provide a convenient way to take collagen, especially if you’re on the go.
  2. Collagen Powder: Similar to collagen peptides, collagen powders can be dissolved in liquids or used in recipes like smoothies.
  3. Collagen Drinks: Some supplements come in the form of ready-to-drink beverages.

When choosing a collagen supplement, opt for a reputable brand and consider your dietary preferences, as collagen can be derived from bovine (cattle), marine (fish), or other sources. It’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional before starting any supplements to ensure they are safe and suitable for your specific needs. Maintaining a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals that support collagen production, along with proper hydration, can also further enhance the effectiveness of collagen supplements.

Contrast Bathing : When, why & how to do it

Contrast bathing, also known as contrast hydrotherapy or contrast therapy, involves alternating between hot and cold water to stimulate the body’s healing processes. It’s a simple, cost-effective method popularised by athletes to speed up recovery, but can be used to recover from physical exertion, reduce muscle soreness, and improve overall health. Contrast bathing works primarily through its effects on the body’s circulatory system, influencing two main mechanisms.

  1. Vasodilation: The heat from the hot water causes the blood vessels to expand, a process known as vasodilation. This results in increased blood flow, bringing fresh oxygen and nutrients to the area to promote healing.
  2. Vasoconstriction: The cold water causes the blood vessels to narrow, a process known as vasoconstriction. This pushes blood away from the surface and reduces inflammation and pain.

Alternating between hot and cold stimulates a “pumping” action in the blood vessels and lymphatic system, helping to flush out toxins, reduce swelling, and speed up recovery.

Contrast bathing can be beneficial for anyone but it may be most beneficial for people who have:

  1. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) from exercise
  2. Minor sports injuries
  3. Poor circulation
  4. Arthritis and other joint disorders

However, as it subjects the body to rapid temperature changes, it’s not recommended for people with certain health conditions like heart disease, neuropathy, or Raynaud’s disease, as it could exacerbate these conditions. Vipin Sharma, a Deep Health Coach, and an Ultra Distance Athlete also warns against a common pitfall that you might want to remember if you’re looking to try out this practice. “Contrast showers done at night can harm the quality of your sleep. I’ve been awake all night on occasion. This might be a personal anecdote, but it’s something to be mindful of,” he says.

For most people though, Contrast bathing, if done safely & mindfully, provides many benefits, including:

  1. Improved circulation: The alternating hot and cold can help stimulate blood flow and improve circulation.
  2. Reduced muscle soreness: It can help relieve muscle soreness, especially when used after exercise.
  3. Accelerated recovery: It may speed up recovery from sports injuries or intense workouts.
  4. Reduced swelling and inflammation: The cold phase may help reduce swelling and inflammation.
  5. Improved flexibility and joint health: Improved circulation can help keep joints healthy.

Getting started with contrast bathing is simple enough & can be done at home. Ideally, speak to your healthcare provider before starting a new regimen, especially if you have any existing health conditions. To prepare for the bath, you’ll need two containers large enough for the body part you want to treat. Fill one with hot (not scalding) water, and the other with cold water that is uncomfortably cold. You can add ice to the cold water if you’d like.

  1. Start with heat: Submerge the affected area in the hot water for 3-4 minutes. The water should be warm but comfortable.
  2. Switch to cold: Quickly switch to the cold water and stay for 1 minute, even though it may feel shockingly cold.
  3. Repeat this cycle for 3-5 rounds, ending with the cold bath.

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of switching between two containers or are constrained by space, you can also simply switch between the knobs in your shower instead. For the best results from a contrast shower, make sure there is a significant temperature difference between the hot and cold parts. Aim for longer hot showers%20water%20for%20another%203) (around 3-5 minutes) and shorter cold showers (about a minute).

Before starting anything new for health- ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING- blood work and clearance from a GP should be taken, because our general assumptions of “being healthy” may be completely off.

If you’re interested in trying contrast bathing, it’s important to seek the guidance of a qualified therapist. Keep in mind that certain medical conditions (as mentioned earlier) may increase the risks associated with this practice.

Best Of: Cryotherapy Centres in India

Cryotherapy is gaining significant traction due to its potential health benefits and rejuvenating impact on the body. The technique, involving exposing your body to extremely low temperatures for short periods of time, triggers the fight or flight response in the body & sets in motion a whole host of biochemical reactions that provide benefits ranging from better blood circulation to more motivation. While the benefits are available with any type of cold exposure, commercial centres typically use liquid nitrogen or chilled air to help people reduce inflammation, enhance muscle recovery, and improve blood circulation. As interest in holistic well-being rises, cryotherapy has gained attention from athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and individuals starting out with biohacking.

If you are considering trying cryotherapy, here’s our guide to the top cryotherapy centers in India in 2024.

The Wellness Co.

The Wellness Co is an integrative clinic dedicated to personalised well-being for all, deserving the first spot on our list of the top cryotherapy centers in India. Founded with the aspiration of introducing the finest contemporary wellness techniques and technology to India, they provide a comprehensive selection of seven holistic therapies aimed at fostering your optimal self, some of them being Red Light Therapy, Cryo EMS, AVACEN Therapy, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, and Normatec Compression Therapy. Operating under the umbrella of a Singapore-based entity active in India, their team includes highly-trained nutritionists, doctors, nurses, and phlebotomists, with expertise in the field of nutrition, food science, and medicine, accumulated for more than a decade.

Contact: 1800 1212 429

Locations

  1. Unit 401, 4th Floor, Gehna Edifices, Linking Rd, Khar, Khar West, Mumbai, Maharashtra, 400052
  2. 178, Mezzanine Floor, N KM International House, Marine Drive, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400020
  3. E-14, Chauhan Vithi Rd, Block E, Defence Colony, New Delhi, Delhi 110024
  4. First Floor, Ameya One, Golf Course Rd, Sector 42, Gurugram, Haryana 122011

Price Range: Rs. 5000 onwards

Timings: 10 am-7 pm, 7 days a week.

Health Culture

Health Culture, with its wellness and preventive services, helps you lead a healthy lifestyle by preventing or detecting health-related problems early on so you to take timely action. Health Culture offers Preventive Diagnostic Tests for detecting food allergies, food intolerance analysis, full body scans, and aura scans. They also provide various kinds of therapies including cryotherapy, rest therapy, and oxygen therapy among others. Apart from offering preventive and healing therapies, Health Culture also has multiple health programs for weight management, pain management, cardiovascular well, detoxification, and more.

Contact: 022 2843 2828, +91 98330 31219

Address: Health Culture, 1st Floor, Opp. Oberoi Mall, Above Axis Bank, Goregaon E, Mumbai, 400063

Price Range: Rs. 2100/session, Rs. 10,000/10 sessions

Timings: 10 am-7 pm

Kolors Healthcare

Kolors Healthcare, a dedicated holistic well-being organization, offers advanced treatments and therapies designed to enhance relaxation and rejuvenation. Their specialisation lies in diagnosing concerns related to obesity, skin, and hair, often stemming from lifestyle factors or medication-induced or hormonal changes.

Kolors has evolved into a prominent health service provider in India, with branches spanning major metros and key cities in South India. Backed by cutting-edge technology and a skilled team of Doctors, Physiotherapists, Cosmetologists, Trichologists, and Nutritionists, Kolors operates some of the finest Hair, Weight loss, and Skin care clinics. The organisation holds ISO 9001:2008 certification, offering services encompassing Instant Inch Loss, Weight Loss Treatment, Hair and Skin Treatments, as well as salon services for both Men and Women.

Address: Plot No: 59/8, Above Reliance Trends, 1st Floor, Karkhana, Secunderabad-500015

Price: Rs. 5000/per session

Timings: 6:30 am – 9:30 pm

Nootropics: Enhancing Cognitive Function

The demands on working adults have never been greater than they are now. Whether you’re managing a hectic work schedule, juggling family responsibilities, or pursuing personal goals, cognitive performance plays a pivotal role in your ability to thrive. Looking for a helping hand, a lot of people are turning to “smart drugs” or Nootropics, a diverse group of compounds designed to enhance cognitive functions like memory, creativity, motivation, and attention. These substances have been around for decades, but their popularity has surged in recent years & casual use has become common among working adults, college students & sometimes even school children.

Nootropics can be either natural or synthetic and often work by influencing neurotransmitters, cerebral circulation, or neuroprotection. Common natural nootropics include caffeine, ginkgo biloba, & even nicotine, used for boosting memory, cognitive performance & focus. Synthetic nootropics like Racetams may modulate neurotransmitter activity, while others like Modafinil, a prescription drug for Narcolepsy are used to promote wakefulness.

The effects of nootropics can vary from person to person, and while their mechanisms of action are not fully understood yet, they do offer some promising benefits for those looking to maximise their cognitive abilities such as;

  • Improved Focus: Nootropics can help reduce distractions and enhance concentration, allowing you to tackle tasks more efficiently.
  • Enhanced Memory: Some nootropics have been shown to support memory recall, making it easier to retain and retrieve information.
  • Increased Mental Clarity: Nootropics can provide mental clarity and reduce brain fog, especially during stressful or demanding periods.
  • Enhanced Productivity: By optimising cognitive function, nootropics may help you achieve more in less time, boosting overall productivity.

These potential benefits, lend a helping hand for times when you feel stretched too thin . By enhancing cognitive function, they become valuable tools for boosting productivity & allow you to accomplish more in less time, better.

But, it’s crucial to approach Nootropic use with caution. Not all nootropics are created equal, and their effects can vary widely. There’s not enough research to conclusively prove any long term side effects & if you’re considering the use of nootropics, safety should be a top priority. Before you dive in, it might be helpful to keep these things in mind:

  1. Regulation of Nootropics: In many countries, including the United States, Nootropics fall under the dietary supplements category, which are not subject to the same rigorous regulatory standards as pharmaceutical drugs. The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) does not evaluate or approve dietary supplements for safety and efficacy to the same extent as prescription medications. This lack of oversight is well-documented in various FDA publications and reports.
  2. Variability in Nootropic Quality: Studies and investigations have shown that the quality and content of dietary supplements, including nootropics, can vary significantly between brands and suppliers. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has published research highlighting discrepancies in the ingredients listed on supplement labels versus their actual content.
  3. Potential for Drug Interactions and Side Effects: The potential for nootropics to interact with medications and cause side effects is a well-recognised concern in the medical community. For example, large-scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis revealed tissue-specific neural expression and potential nootropic drug targets.
  4. Consulting Healthcare Professionals: The importance of consulting healthcare professionals before using nootropics is emphasised in this study. Such guidance underscores the need for individuals, especially those with underlying health conditions or who are taking medications, to seek medical advice.

Integrating Nootropics into Your Lifestyle

At the end of the day, incorporating nootropics into your routine is a strategic choice. If you’re willing to forego the safety concerns for temporary boosts in cognitive performance, it’s essential to know that it might not be a smart move in the longer run. A balanced diet, regular exercise, quality sleep, and stress management on a larger scale play vital roles in cognitive function over a longer time frame & nootropics should complement, not replace, these foundational wellness practices. Ultimately, the pursuit of cognitive enhancement should align with a broader commitment to overall well-being, ensuring you can thrive in both personal and professional pursuits.

CGM Devices: Your Health, Your Data

Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) are all the rage these days. From influencers to enthusiasts, they’re popping up everywhere you look and it seems like they’re flying off the shelves faster than they can be produced. But do we really need yet another data point to optimise our health & can CGM trends and insights actually support our health?

Initially designed to help diabetics manage their blood sugar levels, CGM devices quickly caught the attention of health enthusiasts and biohackers. Providing real-time information about blood glucose levels, they allow you to make data-driven decisions about your lifestyle and diet, ultimately leading to better health outcomes and helping with;

  1. Managing Metabolic Disorders: CGM devices are useful for individuals with metabolic disorders to monitor real-time glucose levels, helping them make informed decisions about dietary choices & the effects of medication.
  2. Performance Optimisation: Athletes and fitness enthusiasts can use CGM devices to analyse how their body responds to different workouts and nutritional strategies, optimising their performance.
  3. Personalised Nutrition: CGM data can guide individuals in tailoring their diet by identifying foods that cause spikes in blood sugar levels, aiding in weight management and overall well-being.
  4. Sleep Quality Assessment: CGM devices can reveal how blood sugar levels fluctuate during sleep, aiding in understanding sleep quality and optimising nighttime routines and meal timings.
  5. Stress Management: Tracking blood sugar levels during stressful times provides insights into how stress impacts metabolic health, promoting better stress management strategies.

But, CGM devices aren’t for everyone. If you have no specific health goals and are not at risk of metabolic disorders, CGM devices might provide excessive data which may lead to stress about your health. Constant monitoring may also lead to health obsession or anxiety, especially if minor fluctuations in blood sugar levels are overanalysed.

If you decide to leverage CGM trends and insights though, it’s useful to do some research on which ones are most accurate. While there has been improved accuracy over the years, there may still be occasional discrepancies compared to traditional finger stick tests. However, the better ones generally offer reliable and precise information on glucose trends and patterns, which are more than enough to help you optimise for non-medical reasons.

The data from CGM devices reveals how blood glucose levels respond to various factors throughout the day, helping you identify patterns and make informed decisions about your lifestyle and nutrition. It can be a valuable tool to create a personalised nutrition, exercise & rest plan based on your body’s response to different foods. But it’s important to be cautious about data overload. Between fitness trackers, sleep monitors, and now CGMs, there’s a risk of drowning in too much information. Remember, the basics are crucial, and you don’t need an overwhelming amount of data as it may cause panic. However, if analysing data motivates you and keeps you on track, CGM devices can be a powerful addition to your health arsenal.

Science & Practice of Cold Therapy

In the ever-evolving realm of wellness, trends come and go like tides in the ocean, and amidst all the chatter, cold water therapy is making a notable splash. The notion of willingly subjecting oneself to the icy clutches of cold water might raise eyebrows, yet beneath the surface, there appears to be more than meets the eye. Cold water therapy, often dubbed hydrotherapy or cryotherapy, involves brief immersions in chilly waters at temperatures that are physically uncomfortable and instigate a lot of physiological mechanisms in the body. Intrigued by its potential, we dug deeper to put together a list of cold therapy techniques suitable for beginners & to understand whether this is just a transient trend or if there’s genuine merit to its claims.

The Origin of Cold Therapy

While the practice of using the cold to treat various injuries and inflammation dates back to the ancient Egyptians, Cryotherapy as we know it goes back to the 19th century when localised cooling was employed to manage pain and address advanced cancers.

The advancement of vacuum flasks for storing liquefied gases played an important role in the evolution of cryotherapy. This eventually led to the utilisation of liquid carbon dioxide (-78.5℃) in the early 1900s by Lortat-Jacobs and Solente in Paris. They applied it to treat skin and gynaecological lesions.

Following World War II, liquid nitrogen (-196℃) became accessible. In 1950, Dr Ray Allington employed cotton swabs dipped in liquid nitrogen to treat various non-neoplastic skin diseases. However, the first clinical use of cryotherapy on skin diseases was reported by a physician, Campbell White, in the United States in 1899. The widely used nitrogen spray device that we use today was pioneered by Dr Douglas Torre in 1965.

Benefits of Embracing the Chill

Recent studies propose that temporary exposure to the cold can trigger a surge in heart rate and adrenaline, providing a natural boost in energy. A brisk cold plunge can invigorate your senses and enhance your focus, acting as a worthy replacement (or addition) to your morning cuppa.

Beyond the immediate effects, the benefits extend to better circulation too. Cold water exposure can amplify blood flow, purging toxins and facilitating the efficient conveyance of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. The “fight or flight” response ignited by the cold also prompts a temporary elevation in metabolism.

But that’s not all—cold water may not solely impact the body but also influence mood. A study conducted in 2008 revealed that cold showers might serve as mood enhancers, potentially due to the endorphin rush experienced during the chilly encounter. Here’s the intriguing part though: Cold water therapy also has the potential to elevate motivation by unleashing the Neuromodulator Dopamine. This surge in dopamine heightens focus and attention, and even uplifts spirits. Short interludes of cold exposure could culminate in a sustained elevation of dopamine levels, ensuring motivation, enhanced focus, and an elevated mood.

Taking the Plunge

If you’re eager to explore cold water therapy, start small by adjusting your shower’s temperature. Rest assured, subjecting yourself to icy water isn’t the immediate goal. Start with your regular warm shower and progressively lower the temperature over a span of one to two weeks, until you find yourself comfortable with a cold shower. The key is to make it uncomfortably cold yet safe enough to endure for a few minutes.

Research implies that dedicating just 11 minutes weekly to cold exposure is sufficient to harness its rewards. Of course, if you’re inclined, you can do more, but this serves as the threshold for reaping the frigid benefits. Mind your body and advance cautiously though as your safety takes precedence, particularly if you contend with health conditions like hypertension or cardiovascular ailments.

Once you’ve acclimatised to the chill, you can elevate the experience with a specialised plunge or a professional cryotherapy centre. Whether it’s an elaborate setup with temperature controls or a modest container brimming with ice and water, the choice is yours to make. As with any health endeavour though, adopt a mindful approach and heed your body’s cues. If you suffer from underlying health conditions, make sure you consult a healthcare professional before you immerse yourself.

Biohacking: Fundamentals First

Biohacking has become a buzzword in wellness circles, with people like Brian Johnson grabbing headlines for spending almost 2M$ a year on hacking their health & reducing their “biological age” and every other person talking about cold plunges, CGM’s & supplementation. Biohacking at it’s core is a term used to describe do-it-yourself biology where you make incremental changes to you body in the form of nutrition, sleep and lifestyle to improve your health and well-being. This vast world encompasses everything from Simple lifestyle tweaks like adjusting your diet and sleep habits to bold bets like genetic engineering & IV therapy. However, with so much information out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed & be unsure of how to being your biohacking journey. To help you navigate it all, we spoke to Vipin Sharma, a Deep Health Coach, and an Ultra Distance Athlete to give us an introduction to Biohacking with a rational, step-by-step approach.

First things first. Is Biohacking Safe?

It’s difficult to make a blanket statement whether ‘biohacking is safe or not’. Broadly speaking, I feel biohacking can be a really effective tool for getting healthier, but it comes with potential risks and must be used only by those who understand it well. If you’re on your own & just getting started, focus on mastering the fundamentals – Take care of your nutrition, get enough sleep, maintain mental-health hygiene and just move more. If you do all of these on a consistent basis and want to take your health on the next level, it’s best to talk to a health expert who understands the mechanisms of how biohacking works and has the expertise of knowing whether it’s right for you. If not, stick to the basics.

Take Intermittent fasting (or time-restricted feeding) for example. A lot of people speak about it & experiment with it, thinking it’s a Magic Bullet for many conditions, but it’s not. Firstly, one has to learn how to do it properly – what constitutes a fast, what doesn’t, what’s the effect of your last meal on how you feel during the fast, what’s the effect of your first meal after your fast, what are the most optimal ways to break a fast, etc.

Even if you do all of these by the book, you could still be a wrong candidate for Intermittent fasting if you suffer from a condition like disordered eating. It can be a great tool for autophagy & longevity, but it’s important to ask if it’s right for you. Our bodies are complex machines, and while we’re all similar in lots of ways, our genetic makeup, gut bacteria and our interactions with our environment are astonishingly different.

It’s nearly impossible for me to advise a client on a diet plan without looking at their blood work & ideally, other biomarkers too.

Science has made significant progress in the past few years & genetic testing, gut health examinations & CGMs are all commonly available in parts of the Western world. “It’s only a matter of making it more economical & accessible so that a larger population can benefit from it. I look forward to the day when health coaches will be able to ask their clients to get DNA testing, specialised blood work, metabolic health test done and we’ll have that data at our disposal to make truly personalised recommendations,” says Sharma.

Unless you’ve enrolled with an expert (or gone deep on r/biohacking!), your best bet is to master the fundamentals of nutrition, sleep & movement. Once you get the basics right, you can start experimenting a little more.

For your nutrition, Vipin recommends that you;

  1. Focus on consuming mostly whole foods
  2. Include fermented & gut-friendly foods daily
  3. Get enough water for your body weight
  4. Eat slowly & distraction-free
  5. Eat till you’re 80% full

Biohacking & Improved Sleep Quality

Sleep, in particular, is one area where Biohacking is helpful the most given our modern environment. Phones, laptops, noise levels, over-lit homes, 24×7 stressors, and sedentary lifestyles – all contribute to poor sleep, and sleep is something you can’t fix by trying harder. You can only learn to create conditions for restful sleep and let it happen. Vipin is a huge proponent of sleep and wake rituals. Here are some of the basics he suggests:

  • Get daylight exposure within the first 30 minutes of waking up (this goes a long way in fixing your circadian rhythms)
  • Aim for consistent sleep and wake times
  • Stop the usage of screens 2 hours before bed
  • Stop eating 3 hours before bed
  • Dim lights an hour before bed
  • Meditate in the evening

These measures should be sufficient for most of us, but if you’ve got these covered & want to optimise your sleep further;

  • Wear a sleep tracker – Analyse sleep cycles and quality to identify any issues (whether it’s getting to fall asleep, waking in the middle and falling asleep again, or continuous interruptions throughout the night)
  • Invest in blue light-blocking glasses
  • Use a sleep music app
  • Try specific sleep meditations

Biohacking & Exercise

When applied to exercise, biohacking involves techniques like tracking physiological data, optimising recovery strategies, and tailoring workouts based on various health factors.

By leveraging these insights, individuals can fine-tune their exercise routines, enhance athletic performance, and even expedite recovery. But before you go deep into wearables or using niche methods of exercise, get the fundamentals right by;

  • Moving for at least 30 minutes a day
  • Aiming for 3 strength training & 3 cardio sessions a week
  • Increasing your level of non exercise activity by moving about in your daily life outside of working out

Biohacking Devices and Wearables: Are They Worth It?

Talking about wearables – I believe some of the good quality health trackers are worth investing in, not just for the data they provide, but also for helping build better habits.

Monitoring your data is good practice as it gives you information to make informed decisions about how your routine is affecting your body. For example – a fully loaded fitness smartwatch may give you data for sleep, workouts, heart rate, heart rate variability, and movement throughout the day. Having these on a graph tells you how you’ve been doing. Some may even measure things like Vo2 max & other often ignored factors, all of which are incredibly helpful in painting a picture of one’s health. The accuracy of these devices is about 60-70% and while they may not be as accurate as professional tests done at medical facilities, having ballpark figures to know how you’re doing compared to your baselines can be exceptionally helpful.

Vipin personally believes that ideally though, outside of basic health data, some devices should only be used under the supervision of experts. CGM devices for instance, attached to your body 24/7, gives you data about your blood sugar fluctuations throughout the day and the uninitiated might find it puzzling to see something they deem as healthy causing a massive sugar spike. It requires expertise to understand the patterns in this randomness and make sense of what could be potentially worrying and what’s not. The data could also give needless anxiety to the person using it, who will only see a spike as it is.

Biohacking then, is a potent tool for self improvement in the health domain, but it’s important to approach it with a rational mindset. Start small, master the fundamentals, and when you’re ready to step it up, talk to an expert or research carefully before starting. When you do, make one small change at a time, closely observe the effects, and adapt as necessary.

-->